the Bible, and made some progress in it. His memory for scripture was so minute and accurate that he was termed a living concordance. An order in council (1652) appointed him one of nine (including Cudworth and Owen) whose approval was required to sanction the publication of any new translation of the Bible. In addition to his other engagements, Jessey was in 1653 ‘teacher’ of a baptist church in Swan Alley, Coleman Street (not identical with Knollys's congregation in that street); he preached there on Sunday afternoons; George Burrett was his colleague. By appointment of this church, Jessey visited some thirty-six congregations in the eastern counties during the summer of 1653; he found them ‘sound in the faith,’ though differing about baptism and the use of hymns. In conjunction with John Simpson, a delegate from Bragg's church, he conducted, on 25 Aug., on board the General, off Aldborough, Suffolk, a public thanksgiving for the English victories over the Dutch fleet. A contemporary witness describes his preaching on 7 Feb. 1654 at Allhallows; he was ‘no Boanerges,’ but there was a crowded congregation. Once a week he preached at Ely House. He was one of Cromwell's ‘triers’ (20 March 1654) and ‘expurgators’ (28 Aug. 1654). In 1655 he visited a number of churches in the west of England on the invitation of ‘the saints in Bristol.’ At what date his Southwark congregation began to meet at St. George's, Southwark, is uncertain. Jessey preached there on Sunday mornings, and is supposed by Palmer and Wilson to have obtained the rectory, which was in sequestration. According to Walker, the sequestered rector was succeeded in 1657 by Alexander Pigel. It was in 1657 that Jessey distinguished himself by his charitable exertions on behalf of the distressed Jews in Jerusalem, collecting a sum of 300l., which he forwarded with good wishes for their conversion. His liberality to Jews was memorable on other occasions. He claimed for them the rights of citizenship and admission to fair business privileges. His general charities were extensive; some thirty families are said to have been dependent on his bounty.
At the Restoration Jessey was removed from St. George's. He retained his preaching appointments at Allhallows, and held a conventicle at Anchor Lane, probably also at Swan Alley. Though there is no evidence that he was in any sense a Fifth-monarchy man, yet his former connection with Feake, and Venner's connection with Swan Alley, brought him under suspicion. His favour to Jews and his habit of noting and expecting providential interpositions also told against him. His house was searched and himself placed under arrest on 28 Dec. 1660, by order of Monck. On 27 Nov. 1661 he was again arrested on a warrant, examined by the privy council, and detained in custody at Lamb Inn, St. Clement Danes, till the end of December. In August 1662 he gave information of ‘an intended rising in London’ to the lord mayor and others, and after some delay he was himself arrested on 30 Aug. and not released till March 1663. He then went over to Holland to secure the independent rights of some of his people who had lately emigrated thither. In the following August, after his return to London, he fell into a low fever. He died unmarried on 4 Sept. 1663. His body lay in state at Woodmongers' Hall, Duke's Place, and his funeral in Bethlehem New Churchyard (now part of Liverpool Street, opposite Broad Street Station) was attended on 7 Sept. by four or five thousand persons. A broadsheet elegy was circulated, with the title ‘A Pillar erected to … Henry Jesse,’ &c. Some Latin verses, intended as an epitaph, are given in his ‘Life.’ His portrait, engraved by James Caldwall [q. v.] for the first edition of Palmer, shows him in Geneva gown, broad collar, and double skull-cap; his features are plain and strong without harshness; he wore a pointed beard, and shaved the middle of the upper lip. Over his study door he wrote:
Amice, quisquis huc ades,
Aut agito paucis, aut abi,
Aut me laborantem adjuva.
He published: 1. ‘A Catechism for Children’ (Wood). 2. ‘The Scripture Kalendar,’ &c., 1645, 8vo. According to his ‘Life,’ this was issued each year till 1664; his object was to supersede not only the ‘popish’ saints' days, but the ‘heathenish’ names of months and days of the week. 3. ‘The Exceeding Riches of Grace … in … Mrs. Sarah Wight,’ &c., 1647, 8vo (Wood); 1658, 12mo. 4. ‘The Storehouse of Provision for … Cases of Conscience,’ &c., 1650, 12mo. 5. ‘Scripture Motives for Kalendar Reformation, partly urged formerly by Mr. J. B.,’ &c., 1650, 8vo. 6. ‘Description … of … Jerusalem,’ &c., 1653, 4to (WOOD); 1654, 4to, with map. 7. ‘The Lord's Loud Call to England,’ &c., 1660, 4to. Posthumous were: 8. ‘Miscellanea Sacra,’ &c., 1665, 8vo. 9. ‘A Looking-glass for Children,’ &c., 1673, 8vo (additions by H. P.); 1674, 8vo (Wood). In 1650 he translated an account ‘Of the Conversion of … East Indians,’ &c. He contributed an epistle and indices to ‘An English-Greek Lexicon … of … the New Testament,’ &c., 1661, 8vo, in which Joseph Caryl [q. v.]